On the night of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere was rowed across the Charles River, from Boston to Charlestown, to begin his midnight ride. The famous trip was for the purpose of alerting John Hancock and Samuel Adams (in Lexington) of the approaching British Army. But he didn’t land where Paul Revere Park is now, on the shore of Charlestown. The Park is closer to where the HMS Somerset (a British Navy ship) was anchored and filled with enemy soldiers. Revere slipped behind the Somerset and landed further along the waterfront near the Charlestown Navy Yard, hurrying in to town to get a horse for his mission.
Paul Revere Park is young, built on land that was gained from the Central Artery/ Tunnel Project (also known as the “Big Dig”) which relocated an entire elevated highway underground through downtown Boston. The Big Dig disrupted the city for well over a decade around the turn of this century, and was the most expensive highway project in American history. The park continues to be a work in progress, as are many of the other Big Dig properties, such as the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway in Boston. Politics and a stagnant economy have slowed these projects’ progress.
Besides a playground, a performance stage and a large circular lawn, the park features a mosaic wall, on which the story of Paul Revere is written and mapped. On the cold February day when I drew there, the place was deserted, with only a few dog walkers briskly passing by.
From the park, you can see the Leonard P. Zakim Memorial Bunker Hill Bridge, better known as the Zakim Bridge, which is perhaps the most striking result of the Big Dig. The new bridge became an instant landmark for the city and, with its obelisks and rigging, it echos the nearby Bunker Hill Monument and USS Constitution. Bathed in luminous blue light after dark, the Zakim Bridge is, like Paul Revere, a creature of the night.